Houston Flood: 'No Way to Prevent' Chemical Plant Blast or Fire
Albanian Daily News
Published August 31, 2017
Port Arthur is among the areas severely floodedA chemical plant near the flooded US city of Houston is expected to explode or catch fire in the coming days.
During heavy rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, the Arkema plant at Crosby, Texas, lost refrigeration of chemical compounds which need to be kept cool, and there is no way to prevent a fire, the company said.
At least 33 people have been killed in the aftermath of the storm.
US energy supplies have also been hit, as oil companies shut down pipelines.
The US National Weather Service downgraded the former hurricane to a tropical depression but has forecast continuing heavy rainfall over eastern Texas and western Louisiana.
What happened at the chemical plant?
The Arkema chemical plant shut down its production on Friday, before the storm made landfall.
But 40in (102cm) of rainfall in the area flooded the site and cut off its power, the company said in a statement. Backup generators were also flooded.
The facility manufactures organic peroxides, and chemicals stored on site can become dangerous at higher temperatures.
"Any fire will probably resemble a large gasoline fire," CEO Richard Rowe told Reuters news agency. "The fire will be explosive and intense."
He said the black smoke produced would irritate skin, eyes and lungs.
"The high water that exists on site, and the lack of power, leave us with no way to prevent it."
The fire is expected to be mostly contained to the site itself but residents of Harris County have been evacuated in a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) radius around the plant as a precaution.
The last remaining workers at the site were evacuated on Tuesday.